By ISAAC LIRI
SPAIN and North Korea will play the one of the two first quarterfinals today at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
Having won all their group matches and bearing a decent record of five appearances and winning a title (2006) in the previous Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup, the Koreans are favoured.
However, they have a massive task in overcoming the Spanish threat to secure a place in the semi-finals.
North Korea coach Hwang Yongbong said that Spain were a worthy side and they would apply the high quality style of football they had been using in their group matches.
“Spain is one of the top football playing countries in Europe,” Yongbong said.
“But we will maintain our style of football.”
Yongbong will depend on Kim So Hyang, who has scored four goals so far in the tournament, and defender Jon So Yon, who has the ability to lead the defence, strategies and score goals when given the opportunity.
For Spain, having to edge Japan 1-0 and thrash Canada 5-0 and then suffer a 2-1 defeat from Nigeria, they were fortunate to sneak into the finals with a better goal difference than Nigeria.
Coach Pedro Lopez said they were ready.
“After a tough group stage, we’ve managed to make it to the quarterfinals,” Lopez said.
“We face Korea, who are one of the favourites to win this tournament, but we’ll do our best to qualify for the next stage.”
In terms of injuries, both teams have sustained one injury each.
North Korean defender Kim Jong Sim sustained an injury during the match against PNG and would miss out. Spain will play without defender Rocio Galvez, who has already left PNG but Lopez said it would not affect the team’s chances against North Korea.
By ISAAC LIRI